Sean Robey has spent his entire career making Grandview fun. Now, it's his turn to enjoy himself.
The city's parks and recreation director announced last week he will retire Aug. 31.
After the completion of several major park projects, "and especially with the opening of our new municipal pool, this just seemed like an ideal time to retire," Robey said. "We really don't have any other major park projects on the horizon."
Retirement has been on his mind for some time, "but I didn't want to miss out on the dedication of the pool" earlier this year, he said.
Robey began working for Grandview as a part-time parks maintenance worker Oct. 1, 1979, while a student at Ohio State University.
"I took the job to help pay for books," Robey said. "Working here led me in the direction of a career in parks and recreation."
Robey was a pre-dentistry student at Ohio State.
"I hadn't declared a major yet. In pre-dentistry, they show you a film about dentistry, and, I don't know, the sight of all that blood and the idea of inflicting pain on people just didn't appeal to me," he said. "I really enjoyed my job with the parks department, and I realized that was the career area that appealed to me."
After graduating with a degree in parks and recreation administration from OSU's School of Natural Resources, Robey was hired in 1981 as Grandview's first full-time parks maintenance employee.
"I enjoyed working outdoors and taking care of things," Robey said. "But the appeal, especially in a place like Grandview, was more about the relationships you're able to build. There are so many great people in Grandview Heights. I realized I could take care of things and help people at the same time."
Robey has excelled at both of those endeavors as parks director, Mayor Ray DeGraw said.
"Sean's done a wonderful job for the city," DeGraw said. "He's made the parks department what it is today. The department has evolved (under his leadership). It's not only about parks and recreation; it's become the community-events department for our community."
Working with the city's parks advisory board, Robey effectively led the improvement projects at Pierce Field and Wyman Woods and the construction of the new municipal pool, he said.
"He's a great manager of projects," DeGraw said.
More than that, "he's a great guy" who has formed a deep connection with Grandview residents and city staff, the mayor said.
"He's loved by everyone who knows and works with him," DeGraw said. "He will be greatly missed."
DeGraw said he expects to name a new parks director before Robey leaves at the end of August.